How Does the Court Determine Wrongful Death Damages?

If you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one because of the careless or reckless actions of another person, you may be wondering how a New Mexico court would determine how much to award you. Of course, no amount of money can make up for the loss. However, there are many financial burdens associated with losing a family member, and the judge or jury will take these into consideration.

According to New Mexico state law, there are quite a few factors that may contribute to the amount, including compensation for direct costs, such as funeral expenses and medical bills. The law recognizes that you may have also lost the standard of living provided by your loved one’s earnings currently and into the future. Even if your loved one did not have an income currently, the court may consider his or her earning capacity and award you with an amount based on that figure.

The court would also place a dollar amount on intangibles that cannot be figured mathematically. For example, the pain and suffering your loved one experienced before he or she died may be worth compensation. You may also recover economic damages for the loss of enjoyment to your life that you are suffering because of the death of your loved one. The judge or jury will even attempt to put a monetary value on your loved one’s life. There is no upper limit to the amount the court may award you; the judge or jury has discretion in this matter.

Although this information may give you an idea of the aspects of a wrongful death award, it is general in nature and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

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